Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rulon Freakin Gardner On The Biggest Loser

As a wrestler, athlete, sports trainer, and martial artist I have been following the career of Rulon Gardner. Ask any wrestler and they will know who he is. Ask any sports writer or strength and conditioning coach and they will know who he is. He may be an unfamiliar name to a lot of personal trainers and aerobics instructors. So to fill you in, this is who he is:

Rulon was an All-American wrestler at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the Olympics, and in the world of sports there is few names that brought fear like the Russian named Alexander Karelin. Karelin won 3 Olympic Gold medals, 9 World Championships, undefeated in 13 years and had not given up a point in the last 6. In 2000 Rulon beat him (albeit controversially) and won Gold. Then in 2001 he won the World Championships in Greco-Roman wrestling. He was the first American to do all three (let alone win Olympic and World in Greco).

As a child Rulon was impaled by an arrow in a show-and-tell accident. 1990 he lost his daughter in a car accident. In 2002 he was stranded on a wilderness snowmobile accident and lost a toe to frostbite. In 2004 with that missing toe he won the Olympic trials and won Bronze in the Olympics. In 2004 also he was flung from his motorcycle when he was struck by a car. At the end of that same year he competed in his first MMA fight in Japan against Hidehiko Yoshida and won. In 2007 he was in a plane crash into Lake Powell. He was forced to swim in 44 °F water for over an hour. He along with 2 friends survived overnight in 28 °F weather with no shelter or fire.

And finally now Rulon is on The Biggest Loser. Why? He has ballooned up to nearly 500lbs!!! I had to give that background (more info about his survival and accomplishments are in his autobiography) to illustrate how someone who's survived and accomplished so much, let himself get so big? If it could happen to him it truly can happen to anyone else. Because it's not a big event, it's slow, gradual, and enjoyable in some aspects. And honestly his weight is probably more life threatening in a realistic sense than any of his near death experiences. An accident is something you survive and walk away from, weight isn't something that just happens and ends in a flash and you walk away from it.

I have a suspicion that this happened because he (like a lot of people I know) didn't care if he gained weight or by how much. In his mind he was confident he could lose it whenever he wanted, if he chose to do it. Maybe the fame, money, and attention he and his new gym that he just built would get was the motivation for him to decide to lose it. And I have no doubt he will lose massive amounts of weight. He has trained harder (no matter what he might say for publicity) than anyone on that show ever has and he can do it again.

But a lot of other people have that mindset. I can lose it if and when I want to so it doesn't matter if I get fat. I have control over my life, I still have a choice so my weight doesn't bother me (sounds like the excuse of a lot of addicts which is an important connection because food is like a drug). Sorry to say a lot of people who think this is wrong. Anyone can become obese as Rulon has illustrated. But losing weight is not as simple as making a choice or turning on a switch. It is a constant struggle and choice made every moment of the day.

And even if you do lose it, it will never make up for the loss of opportunity and quality of life you gave up prior to it. An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.


About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Personal Trainer, Coach, Performane Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.
All Out Effort is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.